JK-12 School Information
Due to COVID-19, we have put in place new and enhanced measures to protect the health and safety of educational staff, students and their families. These measures meet the requirements set out in the Emerging Wisely Plan. Schools have built flexibility into their plans to be able to shift learning approaches for students between in-person, blended and distance learning, depending on the COVID-19 situation.
This school year, students can access the following learning options:
- In person (face-to-face at school): Student who is well
- Remote learning: Student who is self-isolating (pre-existing conditions, illness, Health Care Practitioner identified)
- Home Schooling: Parent has placed student on an approved Home Schooling Program and becomes their child's teacher
Recognizing that students will have had varying opportunities for learning while at home, teachers will be maximizing opportunities for students to catch up on key concepts throughout the school year. Teachers will communicate regularly with students and their parents or guardians about learning expectations and progress so that they are prepared to take a more active role in facilitating their child(ren)’s education, should circumstances change regarding the COVID-19 situation in the NWT.
Students attending in person must monitor for COVID-19 symptoms:
Grading and report cards
Student assessment, evaluation and reporting processes will return to pre-COVID-19 conditions. This means that every JK-12 NWT student will receive grades and report cards in the 2020-2021 school year according to existing school policies and scheduled dates. Teachers will be responsible for assessing a student’s progress to-date, assigning grades or levels as appropriate, and providing meaningful feedback to students, parents and guardians.
High school courses (Grades 10-12)
High school programming (Grades 10-12) and graduation requirements will mostly return to normal This means the temporary high school course completion processes established during school pandemic closures are no longer current or available. If there are special circumstances (including blended learning), needs or situations where special accommodations should be considered, this can be explored with the student’s teacher and principal.
AATs and Diploma Exams
The January 2021, April 2021, June 2021 and August 2021 diploma exams are optional due to COVID-19.
For the 2020-21 school year, diploma exams are optional due to COVID-19. Students and their parents/guardians will decide whether the student will write their diploma exam. If the diploma exam is not written, an exemption will be provided, and the school awarded mark will stand for 100% of the final mark. To receive an exemption, students need to be currently taking the course and receive a school-awarded mark during the 2020-21 school year.
- If a student chooses not to write the diploma exam, their school mark will become the final course mark.
- If a student chooses to write the exam, the exam mark will be blended with the student’s school mark. The exam is worth 30% of the student’s mark and the school mark is worth 70%.
- Students are required to let their school know if they will write the January 2021 diploma exams by Tuesday, December 15.
- Write a diploma exam but are dissatisfied with their mark are not eligible for an exemption.
Students aged 19 and over
Students who turn 19 after December 31, 2020 will be allowed to attend school in person for the duration of the school year. Students who turn 19 on or before December 31, 2020 will need to stop attending school in person prior to their nineteenth birthday. It is recommended that students who turn 19 on or before December 31, 2020 begin distance learning at the start of the school year so they will not have to be asked to leave mid-year.
School staff will make every effort to work with their Grade 10, 11 and 12 students to complete their core subject courses, providing a final mark and awarding credits.
Northern Distance Learning
Northern Distance Learning (NDL) is expected to continue as usual with students attending in their NDL classrooms for live classes hosted from Inuvik with the usual support of In-class Support Persons (ISPs).
There may be an opportunity for students to take additional courses through NDL. The program offers a range of academic or “-1” courses in the following communities: Inuvik, Fort Resolution, Fort Liard, Fort McPherson, Tuktoyaktuk, Aklavik, Fort Good Hope, Ulukhaktok, Behchokǫ̀, Délı̨nę, Tulita, Fort Simpson, Fort Providence, Łutselk’e, Paulatuk and Whatı̀. For more information, consult our fact sheet or contact the school principal.
Learning on the land
Finding creative ways to provide quality education, where we can be physically distant, is more crucial than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. While schools are always encouraged to provide land-based and hands-on learning for NWT students, there are now even more benefits to using these approaches.
Land-based learning opportunities, which also include the school playground area, can provide alternative possibilities for expanding a classroom environment. Students may have the opportunity to experience new cultural activities, participate in independent learning projects, or expand their learning through play.
Parents or guardians in the NWT have the right to home school their children. Parents or guardians who are interested in registering their children for homeschooling must formally meet with the school and submit a learning plan for each child at the time of registration. Once the learning plan is approved and the children are enrolled, the parent or guardian then takes on the responsibility for teaching their children. For clarity, once a learning plan is approved, it is expected that the program is carried to completion over the course of the semester or school year as applicable. Homeschooling parents will not have access to a teacher at the school to provide support.
Contact your local education body for specific information about its homeschooling process and how to register. Parents or guardians may be entitled to reimbursement for eligible expenses in accordance with the education body policy in their region.
Students who are unable to safely attend school for health reasons will be supported to learn from home and would not be considered ‘homeschooled’ under the Home Schooling Regulations.
Student support and wellness
Students with underlying health conditions
There may be students who are unable to safely attend school for health reasons These students will be supported to learn from home through remote learning. Each special circumstance should be evaluated by a health care practitioner, on a case-by-case basis, to determine whether it is safe to attend school.
If parents or guardians have concerns they should:
- Consult their child's health care practitioner to determine whether it is medically safe for their child to return to school.
- Contact your child’s school to discuss available options and support, if it is not safe to return to school.
Many students may be experiencing anxiety about returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents and guardians can support their child(ren)’s mental health by taking time to listen to and validate their concerns and feelings, and by having conversations around how they feel, especially about changes caused by the pandemic, such as limits on how they can interact with friends and participate in some activities, like sports, music, traditions or special events.
Mental wellness counselling services will continue to be available to students either in-person or through virtual care technology and telephone services. All students will be eligible to access counselling services, regardless of whether or not they were already receiving counselling. Virtual workshops and resources for education staff will be available and information about contacts for counselling support has been shared with the schools. In addition, mental wellness supports are available for education staff through Starling Minds and Lifespeak.
Starling Minds is a digital Cognitive Behavioural Therapy platform that is available to all education staff. It provides comprehensive mental health support to increase mental fitness, develop a return to health program and prevent and reduce stressors. Staff can contact the NWTTA for more information and for their account logins.
Lifespeak is a digital total wellbeing platform that is available to all GNWT employees and their families. It provides confidential access to expert information and videos on a wide range of topics. GNWT staff can get more information from the COVID-19 section of the My HR website.
Healthy food programming
Education Bodies receive funding to provide healthy food to students at school, such as breakfast, snacks, lunch and care-packages. Each school will be providing information to students and families regarding what programs will be offered and how to access them.
Assistive technologies reduce or remove barriers to learning, such as voice recognition technologies, screen readers, iPad apps, support software, grips, and so on. Needed assistive technologies are documented in Student Support Plans (SSPs) and Individual Education Plans (IEPs). All students will have access to their assistive technologies whether they are learning at school or through remote learning.
All parents and guardians have a role to play in supporting their school plans by:
- Using the Student Screening Tool for COVID-19 symptoms every morning with every child in your care;
- Keeping child(ren) home if they are showing one major or two minor COVID-19 symptoms, if they have been outside of the territory or in contact with someone who is ill or has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19;
- Modelling safe physical distancing and hand washing;
- Picking students up from school as soon as you are notified.
Families and caregivers can call 8-1-1 or their local health centre with questions about COVID-19.
Isolation process for students
Each school has a dedicated room where a student can safely isolate if they begin to show symptoms of COVID-19 while at school. The student will be accompanied by a staff member and will be kept safe during this time. The parents or guardians of a student with symptoms will be notified immediately of their child’s status and asked to pick them up from school as soon as possible to take them for medical assessment.
Returning to school following self-isolation
The health care practitioner will let parents / guardians of students know when it is safe to return to school following a period of self-isolation or illness. The health care provider will provide a card that can be shared with the school as evidence of safe return to school. Should a student return to school before they have been advised to do so, they will be sent home immediately. Should a student choose not to be swabbed or share their card, they will need to be out of school for a minimum of 10 days to ensure public health and safety.
Daily screening process for school staff
School staff also play an important role in supporting school plans to keep everyone safe. All school staff must self-screen every day before entering the school. This screening process will help to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.
- Use the Staff Screening Tool for COVID-19 symptoms every morning;
- Stay at home if they are showing one major or two minor COVID-19 symptoms, if they have been outside of the territory or in contact with someone who is ill or has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19;
- Inform school administration of their absence using the regular process;
- Contact their health care practitioner for advice as to next steps.
Staff can call 8-1-1 or their local health centre for help with any questions about COVID-19. Refer to this fact sheet for more information on self-monitoring.
Isolation process for school staff
If a staff member begins to show COVID-19 symptoms at school, they must notify school administration and follow the school safety plan.
Returning to school following self-isolation
The health care practitioner will let staff know when it is safe to return to school following a period of self-isolation or illness. The health care provider will provide a card that can be shared with the school as evidence of safe return to work. Should a staff member return to school before they have been advised to do so, they will be sent home immediately. Should a staff member choose not to be swabbed or share their card, they will need to be out of work for a minimum of 10 days to ensure public health and safety.